On Tuesday, March 29, 2016, Miss Gasengayire Leonie left Kimironko police station, after 3 days of solitary confinement and physical abuse.

Miss Gasengayire was arrested on Saturday March 26, 2016 under Section 463 of the Criminal Code on “inciting insurrection or trouble amongst the population”. Allegations included having ownership, reading and bringing prison a book entitled “Entre les quatre murs du 1930” (Between the 4 walls of 1930 prison) written by Mrs Victoire Ingabire. Yet the book is freely available in bookstores, including in Kigali and the prosecution has not brought any case against its author.

The interrogation was conducted over a period of three days without any legal counsel present for her representation. She was repeatedly abused both physically and verbally to force her to answer the questions in the absence of her legal counsel. Despite physical abuses and threats, she refused to sign the false statement presented to her. The questioning focused on the activities within the FDU-Inkingi party and on her private life. The interrogation was conducted under the orders of AIP Michel Mbanzabugabo.

She was released on March 29, 2016 but the police confiscated the arrest warrant that had been handed to her upon her arrest. It was shown to her when she resisted their arrest. They were in plain clothes and their car had civilian plate numbers and therefore Ms Gasengayire was fearing for her life. We strongly suspect that snatching the arrest warrant, was aimed at hiding the only evidence that she could show and would embarrass the regime.  Indeed, her file lacks now any credible evidence.

Miss Gasengayire has already served 2 years in prison for being present at meeting with friends criticising education policy in Rwanda. The Secretary General of FDU-Inkingi, Mr Sylvain Sibomana, Secretary General of the party, who was also present was accused of being the ring leader and is serving 8 years in prison, 6 years for being present at this meeting and two years for publicly wearing a tea shirt with a label “free Ingabire”.

On two occasions, FDU-Inkingi party officials visited CID Headquarters to report about the disappearance of Gasengayire but each time the CID confessed ignorance of her whereabouts even though the people who arrested her identified themselves as police officers and showed her a warrant of arrest issued by their services. It was utterly cynical that CID officials asked party officials to write an official note explaining the circumstances of the disappearance of Miss Leonie in order to help them find her. Even on the morning of her release, CID officials insisted that they did not know the whereabouts of Miss Gasengayire.

The police strongly urged Miss Gasengayire to abandon all political activity within the FDU- Inkingi and join the RPF. This is something that is against the role of the Police which has to be apolitical.

The treatment by the Police of Ms. Gasengayire is unacceptable and unimaginable in a country where there is the rule of law.

FDU Inkingi strongly condemns acts of harassment and intimidation against its members. Once more they call upon the Rwandan authorities to respect civil and political rights of its citizens as guaranteed by international conventions. This is essentially what was asked of Rwanda at the last meeting in Geneva on the Universal Periodic Review (UPU).

London, March 30, 2016

FDU Inkingi

Justin Bahunga

Commissioner for External Relations and Spokesperson

Release Leonie version finale